Justice of a loving God01 May 2017 |
If God is all powerful and good then why is there evil in the world?
It’s a classic question that agnostics often use as a shield to keep themselves from digging deep into their own souls. Souls tend to be pretty dark and lonely places to explore.
Today, I put a piece together that I had never though of before. God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to demonstrate a few insufficient options before providing his ultimate solution to the problem of dischord in the world.
We’ll need to go back to the beginning though.
Before the creation of the world, God existed in relationship amongst himself. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit existed in a loving, perfect, and unique relationship. As an outpouring of that love, he created the cosmos and people in His image to join in the perfect relationship that He already had.
Choice is paramount to the existance of love, so God provided a single prohibition on his creation. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By eating from that tree, the first humans caused a rip in the cosmos.
The world had been created with a set operating instructions from a perfect God. When people deviated from it, it sent ripples through every part of creation, breaking the way the world was designed. Why would He allow this? Because love is choice and choice has concequence.
First, God removed the first humans from the garden because there also existed in the garden a tree that when consumed provided eternal life. He limited their capacity for evil from infinite to finite.
People multiplied and became more and more deviant from the character of God to the point that only one family maintained any kind of relationship with God.
Modern people ask why God doesn’t just punish the bad people, well, he does. At that time, he did it all at once. He flooded the entire planet–saving one family and a bunch of animals. At the same time, he reduced the human lifespan again, this time to 120 years: to reduce their capacity for evil yet again.
God introduced the law next, which pointed toward His perfection. As a part of the law, he intoduced the idea of payment for injustices committed. No one was able to keep all the commands all the time–the whole world was affected by the broken relationship, but a few people rebuilt their relationships with God and came to an understanding: God still wanted to rebuild relationships with people and had a better way coming.
Finally, God sent Jesus to demonstrate what a perfect life would look like, experience the temptations and pain of life, and make the ultimate payment for the crimes against God. That payment was torture, public ridicule, and death. As God, Jesus rose to life, demonstrating what He has to offer humanity: a way to overcome the ripples of death set off by the first torn relationship and rebuild the relationship that God always intended.
However, it is still a choice. Because love devoid of choice is not love. We forget today that love is a choice because it is often couched as a feeling, but let me be clear: love is a choice. It is a choice to do hard things for someone else’s good and not your own.
Skeptics will always rise, and they will ask these questions:
- Why didn’t God kill all the evil people, that would solve everything? He did, it didn’t.
- Why didn’t God make a clear set of rules to live by? He did, but His goal isn’t rule following. It’s relationships.
- Why doesn’t God [fill in the blank]? I don’t know, He isn’t a formula or impersonal force, He is a person. Ask Him, spend time with Him, read what He’s written for you.
- Now that we have science, why do we need a god? The rules of this cosmos come from the mind of God, which is probably why a lot of early scientists, doctors, teachers, and philanthropists sought Him. And we don’t need “a god,” we need the relationship with the one who designed this cosmos and coded our DNA.
We too often forget that the things we see in this world are echoes of God’s personality and creativity (or a twisting of those things). A lot of the theoretical, impersonal questions take a back seat when we finally accept that God is personal.